Critical minerals portal to strengthen supply chains

29 June 2021

Geoscience Australia has taken a key step in its partnership with the United States Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada, with the release of the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative online portal today.

The portal – which contains the world’s largest dataset of critical minerals in and around ore deposits – is a major milestone of the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative.

It shows concentrations of critical minerals in more than 7000 mineral samples from 60 countries, mostly from Australia, the United States and Canada.

Geoscience Australia’s Minerals Energy and Groundwater Division Chief Dr Andrew Heap said the portal would highlight Australia’s rich mineral resources, and underline emerging opportunities for the Australian resources sector.

“Critical minerals are central to the economic and national security of Australia and its partners, but their distribution in ore deposits is poorly understood,” Dr Heap said.

“With our colleagues in the United States Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada, Geoscience Australia has created the foundations of a global dataset that indicates where critical minerals occur and in what quantities.

“The dataset in the online portal will help Australia and our partner nations secure our supply chains as global demand for critical minerals accelerates.”

An electric car at a charging station

Critical minerals are used to make electric vehicle batteries and other low emissions technologies

The Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative was established in December 2019 following the US-Australia dialogue to increase reliable supplies of critical minerals, which are critical components in everything from electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines to fighter jets.

The portal supports the work of the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office, which is implementing the Australian Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy.

This strategy aims to position Australia as a world leader in the exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals.

The Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative portal uses a new mineral deposit classification system that draws on a mineral systems approach.

This approach looks at mineral deposits through an integrated framework based on the geological processes that control their formation and preservation.

From this dataset, users will be able to infer critical mineral abundance in underexplored regions, unsampled deposits and mine wastes, which can then be used to better target exploration.

“Geoscience Australia is a global leader in applying a minerals systems approach to mineral deposit research,” Dr Heap said.

“This online portal demonstrates what can be achieved when national geological surveys combine their data and expertise.”

Geoscience Australia is currently searching for new sources of critical minerals across Australia through the $225 million Exploring for the Future program.

Further information